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InTouch:  UNC Employee Forum News
Volume 4, Number 8 November 2003

From the Chair, Tommy Griffin…
Share What We Have
Hello, everyone. This is the time of the year when we start thinking about the Holiday season and spending more time with our families and friends. We all get those extra special feelings about this time of the year. This is when we really show how much we care about each other and when we are willing to share the most. During these hard times, it becomes more and more important to share what we have with each other. I know it’s hard to share during bad economic times, but that is when we need to share the most, because there are other folks out there that need our help, just as we need each others’ help and support every day. During these hard times we can shine the most; this is when we can give each other those wonderful gifts of hope and love. Now is the time when we can set the example for everyone else to follow. This is when we can be the best that we can be at work, at home, and in the communities we live in. Don’t forget that the University is a community where we spend a big part of our lives every day. We must stand side by side and work together to accomplish our goals in life, to improve our daily lives, and to make improvements on and off campus. If we treat each other with dignity and respect, truly care about each other, and work together for the common good of all, we can accomplish any task or goal set in front of us. Be thinking about what we can do to help each other. Stand up and share your thoughts and ideas with each other. Just do the right thing.

The University just celebrated another birthday: we are now 210 years young and counting. It took all of us working together to get where we are today. I want to thank everyone who helped make University Day a great success. Without people who really care about each other, it would be hard to celebrate this many birthdays. Days like this remind us of our history and of our future together. Without both it would be hard to celebrate 210 years of great success in our state and nation. It takes people who really care to make this happen.

Thanks for everything. Your friend and someone who truly cares, Tommy Griffin.

Fall Community Meeting: State Health Plan Director Jack Walker

The Forum will host its fall community meeting Wednesday, November 12, from 3-4:30 p.m. in Gerrard Hall. The meeting will feature State Health Plan director Jack Walker. Attendance is considered worktime, but check with your supervisor before attending. (Attendance is at the discretion of one’s supervisor.)

Forum Office Hosts GED Classes

Recently the General Educational Development diploma program, which provides adults an opportunity to earn a high school equivalency diploma, had to find a new place to hold its classes because of construction in the former location. These classes are now offered in the Employee Forum office, at 134 East Franklin Street, Room 207. The classes run 8:15 – 10:15 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you wish to enroll, please contact Ray Doyle, Training Coordinator – Facilities Services, at or 962-4440, or just show up at one of the classes. You can start any time; just make sure you have your supervisor’s approval.

Use NC Flex to Save Money

Times are tough, and health care costs a lot of money. You can save a bundle by using NC Flex, which allows you to pay your health care costs in pretax dollars. Just add up the expenses you know you will have during the year, and have enough money withheld to cover that. Since you are paying in pretax dollars, the amount of tax you’ll owe at the end of the year is reduced, so the tax withheld from your check will go down. This means your paycheck will go down less than the amount of money you send to Flex. This is a way to beat the taxman legally, so don’t miss out!

Some important points with regard to NC Flex this year:
The enrollment period ends November 7.
You must use the Enrollment Form included in your 2004 Flex packet.
You can use Flex money for over-the-counter drugs in 2004.
For more information see or call the plan administrator, Aon Consulting, at 1-800-726-3221.

Maynard Clarifies Layoff Policies

Earlier this year, Drake Maynard, Senior Director of HR Administration, spoke to the Forum about layoffs, and his talk was quite informative. His talk covered eligibility for re-employment priority and severance pay, how departments are supposed to identify employees for layoffs, and benefits for laid-off employees. The University’s policies on layoffs are described in great detail in the SPA Manual, and HR goes to considerable effort to see that departments comply with these policies when they must lay off an employee. The Forum appreciates Mr. Maynard’s explanations of these policies which are unfortunately important now to a larger than usual number of our coworkers.
One point that came up during his talk about which there is fairly widespread misunderstanding is how re-employment priority works. From the SPA Manual:

When competing only with external applicants who are not current State employees, layoff candidates shall be selected for open positions, even if not the best qualified, as long as they are able to perform the essential functions of the position within a reasonable length of time, including normal orientation and training given to any new employee. If more than one qualified priority candidate is available, the offer is made first to the candidate with the most Total State Service. However, a hiring department may select a current University or State employee over a layoff candidate if the current employee is demonstrably better qualified.

This runs contrary to the widely held belief that qualified layoff candidates must always be hired when there are internal candidates or other state employees applying for the job.

An employee being laid off would do well to have a close look at the layoff policies and be sure that he or she understands them and that the policies have been followed correctly. These policies are accessible online at the HR web page, Click on “SPA Manual”, select “Section 15 – Leaving UNC-CH” from the pull-down menu, and click on “LAYOFF” for the detailed description of the policy.

New Assistant Director at Carolina Women’s Center

Ms. Chimi Boyd has been selected as the new Assistant Director of the Carolina Women’s Center. As a Durham native and Carolina alumnus, she has a real love and affinity for Carolina. Chimi has a wide breadth of experience working with issues affecting women and those related to social justice. Her positions at UNC-Chapel Hill include Outreach Coordinator for our Upward Bound program from 1996-1999 and her current position as Assistant Director of the Campus Y since 1999. Ms. Boyd also served as a community-based intervention counselor for the Family Preservation Services in Chapel Hill, NC from 1996-1998. Her BA is in psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill, and her graduate education is in psychology at North Carolina Central University. Ms. Boyd has demonstrated leadership as chair of the advisory board of the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Center for Black Culture & History and as a steering committee member of the Black Faculty/Staff Caucus. She has served as a Womentor, a planner of the Sisters Beneath the Skin Conference, Safe Zone ally at UNC-Chapel Hill and as a volunteer at the Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County and Guardian ad Litem in Orange and Chatham Counties.